In these unprecedented and unsettling times, when so many people around the world have lost loved ones and suffered due to COVID-19, our thoughts at St Mary’s are with all those who have been affected.

Our 2020 Leavers have experienced what no other pupils have experienced before them. We are very proud of all of the girls and how they have faced these unexpected challenges with great resilience and flexibility. Although they, like so many other pupils across the country, have not been able to sit their A Levels, they remained focused and continued working, opting into the pre-university seminars offered by St Mary’s to bridge the gap between A Level and university. The girls had worked exceptionally hard towards their A Levels, a key stage in their school life. Despite all of the uncertainties they faced, they have achieved results at the same high level as in previous years, and we are delighted that 95% of them have been successful in gaining places at their first choice of university.

In addition to their pre-university seminar studies, many of the Year 13 girls have been proactive in supporting their communities during the COVID-19 lockdown. The girls have assisted their communities in various ways, some have helped by delivering provisions to the elderly and vulnerable in their area, while others have worked in their local supermarket as key workers. Annabel Fenton (Head of Sport) has been a Dorset COVID-19 volunteer and helped the elderly in her area through this. Lucy Jefford has helped to tutor children whose parents work for the NHS, while Rose Morley put her baking skills to good use, making cupcakes for care workers. Several girls have also undertaken personal challenges during this time in order to raise money for a number of charities that they are passionate about: Yu Ying Sy is currently running 100km in 10 days for Blood Cancer UK, while Amena Boyd unicycled 60 miles to raise money for the Rainforest Alliance and also wrote letters to migrant workers who were quarantining.

The girls will be going on to study at a range of leading Russell Group universities including: Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Durham, Edinburgh, Exeter, Leeds, LSE, Manchester, Newcastle, Queen Mary and UCL. They will be studying a diverse range of subjects, ranging from Anthropology, Biochemistry, Computer Science, Economics, Engineering, English Literature, Geography, History, History of Art to Law, Liberal Arts & Sciences, Mathematics, Medicine and Modern Languages. Every year a few St Mary’s girls also choose to study abroad and this year Amena Boyd has been accepted to read Computer Science at Minerva University, USA. In addition, a few students each year decide to study a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design before deciding which Higher Education path to follow, and this year Hum Hunt-Davis has also been successful gaining a place on the prestigious Fashion Management course at the London College of Fashion.

Head, Dr Felicia Kirk, commented: ‘I am full of admiration for our girls. They adapted brilliantly to the opportunities that were available to them through our online school ‘Calne Connected’ and many of them have also volunteered and supported those less fortunate than themselves in these challenging times. The girls have all worked hard throughout their time at St Mary’s and, while it is of course disappointing for them not to have been able to sit their exams, they can now look to the future with confidence and build on the knowledge, skills and values which have been instilled in them at St Mary’s. My sincere thanks also go to the teachers and pastoral staff who have supported the girls throughout their school journey. We are looking forward to holding a proper farewell for our 2020 Leavers as soon as we are able, and we wish them the very best as they move on to the next exciting stage of their lives.’